Friday, May 07, 2010

Big dog little dog..............

I have discovered an off-leash dog park near my home and I love to take my year old Yorkie there to play. It is not going as well as I would like.

When I first took her I knew that there would be an adjustment period so my "tough love" parenting style kicked in and I told her "we were coming every day for two weeks until you learned to like it!" She did okay with the smaller dogs, but as soon as the big dogs came over she would snap and bite at them and then cling tight to my leg. Anyone have any ideas about how to deal with separation anxiety in dogs?

Finally the day came when she met the right dog and they actually played together. I can't tell you how much joy this brought to my heart. I probably looked pretty foolish standing in the woods trying to snap pictures with my cell phone as they circled around one another, but this was a huge deal to me.

Why do I care that a strange dog likes my dog? Though it makes no rational sense what so ever the feelings really were akin to wanting my kids to have friends to play with when they were growing up. I want her to be liked by each and every dog she encounters so her self-esteem (not to mention mine) doesn't suffer.

Going to the dog park I get first hand experience of the idea that one is either a small dog person or a big dog person. Some big dog people can be rude to the point of commenting, "Come this way Duke. I am not in the mood to deal with a little yippie dog today." And this before Bekeeni even gets close enough to sniff Duke's ankle (His ankle being as high as her nose will reach). Most big dog people simply ignore us, as if we are not important enough to even comment on.

I can't decide which is worse!

Having said this, I have to confess that it is not my favorite thing to be approached by a soaking wet, sandy dog and have him/her shake out their coat and them proceed to jump up on my in greeting leaving muddy paw streaks behind. As I learned never to wear white around a toddler, I have learned never to wear clothes I care about to the dog park (like I really care about my clothes we're really talking about shoes here folks).

So are big and/or little dog people born that way or is it environmental? I maintain I am a little dog person because I have always had home businesses and it is much safer for a little dog to jump on someone than a big dog. Shouldn't all dogs be trained not to jump up on people (Ya! Right! That's never gonna happen around here, try as I might)? Truth be told, my belief is, "The bigger the dog, the bigger the mess." Shame on me... Something else for me to work on I guess. What about you? Do you have a preference? Why?


Sheri said...

So good to "see" you again!

I suppose I am a big dog person, although right now I have a medium and a small one. The small dogs I have had tend to have "short man complex". LOL

I had a Great Dane who had severe attachment issues. I learned not to give any attention. Don't make eye contact, no touching etc when they are hovering toward you at the dog park. If they jump on you while there, turn around and even walk away. Mine got it in about 4 visits.

Good luck! Lots of love!

Patty said...

Thanks Sheri,

I do pretty good at ignoring her and she is pretty content just to sit at my feet while I do so. But if she is just going to sit at my feet what is the point of going? I will cop to picking her up when she is growling/biting at another dog and they start growling back so as to not get blood on my shoes!

And as to walking away I do that too and have the scratches to prove it on the back of my legs from her jumping at me from behind to get my attention. We are starting mommy and me classes (most people refer to them as dog obedience classes) this week. The woman claims she has been successfully training humans for 20 some years so maybe there is hope for me yet.

Lena said...

I was so surprised and happy to receive your comment this morning. I have thought about you and hoped all was well for you.

Your comment uplifted me so much. I have round #2 of chemo this morning, so hearing from you was perfect for today.

Thank you for checking in on me. I so appreciate your support and prayers.